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01-08-2015 | Uitgave 6/2015

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2015

The Predictive Utility of Early Childhood Disruptive Behaviors for School-Age Social Functioning

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 6/2015
Lauretta M. Brennan, Daniel S. Shaw, Thomas J. Dishion, Melvin N. Wilson


Research suggests that school-age children with disruptive behavior (DB) problems frequently demonstrate impaired social skills and experience rejection from peers, which plays a crucial role in the pathway to more serious antisocial behavior. A critical question is which DB problems in early childhood are prognostic of impaired social functioning in school-age children. This study examines the hypothesis that aggression in early childhood will be the more consistent predictor of compromised social functioning than inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, or oppositional behavior. Participants included an ethnically diverse sample of 725 high-risk children from 3 geographically distinct areas followed from ages 2 to 8.5. Four latent growth models of DB from child ages 2 to 5, and potential interactions between dimensions, were used to predict latent parent and teacher ratings of school-age social dysfunction. Analyses were conducted in a multi-group format to examine potential differences between intervention and control group participants. Results showed that age 2 aggression was the DB problem most consistently associated with both parent- and teacher-rated social dysfunction for both groups. Early starting aggressive behavior may be particularly important for the early identification of children at risk for school-age social difficulties.

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